Happening Now Blog

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Pastor's Wednesday Message

Tomorrow is the National Day of Thanksgiving. We're waiting for that day to arrive, but we're waiting actively, waiting by preparing, anticipating the feast. A lovely thought!

Shortly after Thanksgiving, on November 29, Advent starts.  Advent is a season of waiting, watching, praying, hoping.  But it's active waiting for the day of Jesus' coming.  It's not just sitting around feeling bored, distracted, dull.  To introduce Advent, I'll share part of one of my favorite Advent reflections.  It's by Henri Nouwen, whose writing on prayer and spirituality is well-known. Here it is:

What is the nature of waiting?  What is the practice of waiting?  …Waiting, as we see it in the people on the first pages of the Gospel, is waiting with a sense of promise.  "Zechariah… your wife Elizabeth is to bear you a son."  "Mary, …Listen!  You are to conceive and bear a son" (Luke 1:13, 31).  People who wait have received a promise that allows them to wait.  They have received something that is at work in them, like a seed that has started to grow.  This is very important.  We can only really wait if what we are waiting for has already begun for us.  So waiting is never a movement from nothing to something.  It is always a movement from something to something more.  Zechariah, Mary, and Elizabeth were living with a promise that nurtured them, that fed them, that made them able to stay where they were.  And in this way, the promise itself could grow in them and for them.

Waiting is active.  Most of us think of waiting as something passive, a hopeless state determined by events totally out of our hands.  The bus is late?  You cannot do anything about it, so you have to sit there and just wait.  It is not difficult to understand the irritation people feel when somebody says "Just wait."  Words like that seem to push us into passivity.

But there is none of this passivity in scripture.  Those who are waiting are waiting very actively.  They know that what they are waiting for is growing from the ground on which they are standing.  That's the secret.  The secret of waiting is the faith that the seed has been planted, that something has begun.  Active waiting means to be present fully to the moment, in the conviction that something is happening where you are and that you want to be present to it.  A waiting person is someone who is present to the moment, who believes that this moment is the moment.

Nouwen's words remind me of one of my favorite sayings: "The meek are getting ready."  That's what Advent is: getting ready for the reign of God's love.  May this be the day you realize that God's burning charity and perfect providence are getting ready to arrive all around you at any moment.

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Pastor Jim Flachsbart, who filled in for Pastor Brian last Sunday, does work as a handyman while he's waiting for assignments to serve as an interim pastor in the Oregon Synod.  He spoke to several people about this last Sunday.  If you would like to have further conversation with Pastor Jim, you can call him (contact secretary Tammy for the number).  If you'd like a flyer about Pastor Jim's work, please email Pastor Brian; he'll send you a copy.

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Lessons for November 29, 2015
Jeremiah 33:14-16
1 Thessalonians 3:9-13
Luke 21:25-36

This Week

Wednesday  7:00 - 8:30 pm SOV Choir

Thursday     Happy Thanksgiving

Friday          offices closed

Saturday     10:00 - 11:30 am SOV Choir
                  11:30 - 5:00 pm  Private event

Sunday       8:30 & 11:00 am worship Second Sunday of Advent
                  4:00 pm Church decorating

Monday, November 16, 2015

Pastor Brian vacation notice

Pastor Brian will be on vacation November 16-22.  During that week, Pastor David Eppelsheimer of Community of ChristChurch will cover emergency pastoral care needs.  Pastor Jim Flachsbart will preach and preside at both worship services on Sunday November 22.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Pastor's Wednesday Message

One of the things I love most about the ELCA is the set of effective relief and development programs coordinated from the Churchwide offices in Chicago.  (ELCA = the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the national church body to which SOV belongs.) These programs do an extraordinary amount of good in many countries around the world — including the USA. From the ELCA web site:

RELIEF AND DEVELOPMENT: We are a church that rolls up our sleeves and gets to work.

One billion of our neighbors — that's one in seven people in our world today — live in poverty. As members of the ELCA, we are called to respond. Working through Lutheran connections in the United States and around the world, we start by listening to the needs of our neighbors and getting their ideas to help break the cycle of hunger and poverty. Then we partner with them to make their dreams and hopes a reality. From health clinics to microloans, water wells to animal husbandry, food pantries to soup kitchens, we work together to support innovative solutions that get at the root causes of hunger and poverty.

Our work is pursued and accomplished through a variety of bold, active ministries and initiatives:
- ELCA Malaria Campaign
- ELCA World Hunger
- HIV and AIDS Ministry
- Lutheran Disaster Response
- Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service

Each effort strives for justice, peace and change in the world, and draws its strength and effectiveness from working in partnership with others who share a common vision of serving and loving our neighbor and restoring and reconciling communities in Jesus Christ's name.

Last Sunday I preached about some of my experiences learning from poor people in Kenya.  I talked about the ELCA's "Good Gifts" program as a way to carry out God's work with our hands.  Psalm 146 invites us to join God in the work of executing justice for the oppressed, giving food to the hungry, watching over strangers, upholding poor orphans and widows, lifting up those who are bowed down by life's burdens.  Contributing to the ELCA's "Good Gifts" program is a great way for us to do that because it supports each of the programs listed above.  Looking for holiday gifts that build the Kingdom of God?  Go to this link to access the Good Gifts program online: https://community.elca.org/ELCAGoodGifts

Or, to download a copy of the Good Gifts catalogue: http://download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/ELCA_Good_Gifts_Catalog.pdf

"God's work, our hands" is more than just a slogan for the ministry of the ELCA.  It is the truth of our lives as followers of Jesus Christ.  With millions of other disciples, these programs invite us to roll up our sleeves and get to work!

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Lessons for Sunday, November 15th
1 Samuel 2:1-10
Hebrews 10:11-25
Mark 13:1-8


Wednesday 10:00 a Bible Study
                   7:00 - 8:30 p SOV Choir rehearsal

Thursday   9:00 - 1:00 p KOK Preschool

Friday        9:00 - 12:00 p KOK Preschool
                  1:00 - 9:00 p Palmeter Piano Studio

Saturday    10:00 - 11:30 a SOV Choir rehearsal

Sunday       8:30 & 11:00 worship services
                   6:00 p Pie and Praise
                   6:00 - 7:30 p Confirmation

Remember Sandra in your prayers

Halie (and Geoff) are moving and are in need of appliances.They need electric stove, microwave, refrigerator and clothes dryer. If anyone knows of any to sell or donate please contact Halie

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Pastor's Wednesday Message

Ministry Site Profile

We're coming to a turning point in Shepherd's transition process.  The work of the Transition Task Force is nearly done.  Their main project, the Ministry Site Profile (MSP), is very close to completion.  This Sunday members of the congregation will have a chance to give the TTF feedback on the MSP.   By now you have received a PDF copy of it via SOV's email list so you can look it over, think about it, and pray about it before the Town Hall meeting.  Note that we'll have a single worship service (10:00 a.m.) this Sunday, with the meeting to follow.

This Ministry Site Profile is the congregation's résumé.  Every potential clergy candidate identified by Synod staff will be evaluated in light of this document.  Every actual candidate will look carefully at the MSP and use it as part of their evaluation of Shepherd as they go through the interview and discernment process.  The MSP gives the Call Committee valuable information as they enter into discernment about clergy candidates.  So this is a really important document.

That's why it's so important that you pay careful attention to the information in the MSP.  I urge you to read everything in the document and critically assess the information to make sure that it says things you believe to be true about the congregation. Whether it does or does not, please make your opinion known at the Town Hall meeting.  Your feedback will help the TTF do final revisions if any are needed so that the MSP can be as accurate and fairly representative of SOV as possible.  The better we do creating the MSP, the more likely it is that Shepherd will get a new pastor that actually fits its needs.  So please help the Transition Task Force fulfill its commission by giving them your input on this draft document.  Creating the MSP is truly the work of this whole community.  The Holy Spirit calls every one of you as partners with the TTF in carrying out this vitally important project.

Adult Education Follow-up

Last Sunday Mr. Reynold Roeder did a fine presentation about three non-profit organizations whose work he supports.  Those who attended got an introduction to these amazing organizations and some insight into why Reynold is involved with them.  I want to share web links to those organizations so you can learn more about them and consider whether you, too, might want to support their work.

Helping Men Heal — http://helpingmenheal.org/
Union Gospel Mission Portland — http://ugmportland.org/
NCompass — http://www.worldncompass.org/

As I said at the conclusion of Reynold's presentation, his support of these organizations exemplifies the traditional Lutheran slogan about the Christian life: "faith made active in love."  I encourage you to check out these organizations to see if your love of God and neighbor can become faithfully active in partnership with them.

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Lessons for November 8th
1 Kings 17:8-16
Psalm 146
Mark 12:38-44


Thursday   9:00 - 1:00 pm KOK Preschool
                  5:45 pm TTF Meeting
                  7:00 pm LLL

Friday        9:00 - 12:00 pm KOK Preschool
                  1:00 - 9:00 pm Palmeter Piano Studio

Saturday   10:00 - 11:30 am  SOV Choir rehearsal

Sunday     10:00 am One Service

Please return your Stewardship pledge cards this Sunday.

November Newsletter is available